Wilko, a Popular British Retail Chain, Closes Over 400 Stores after Almost 100 Years of Operation

Wilko, a Popular British Retail Chain, Closes Over 400 Stores after Almost 100 Years of Operation

The popular British retail chain, Wilko, is closing more than 400 stores after nearly 100 years of operation. The company has been facing financial difficulties for several years, and no one has decided to acquire the entire chain of stores. Wilko was a well-liked store not only among the British, but also among the Polish community living in the UK.

Wilko was known for its wide range of products, including household appliances, household cleaning products, and home furnishings. The assortment was very broad, ranging from dishwashing liquid and household chemicals to toys, stationery, small electronics, and even furniture and paint. The retail chain was often referred to as the „British Pepco.”

Out of the 400 stores, 124 will close between September 17th and 21st. The distribution center will end its operations on September 15th, and the remaining 222 stores will close on October 1st. More than 12,000 employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closures.

Wilko employees began noticing problems at the beginning of January this year when there was a shortage of products on the shelves. Most Wilko stores were located in attractive locations, such as city centers and major shopping streets. However, customers increasingly prefer to shop in suburban shopping parks with larger spaces. In addition to the locations, the number of stores was also a problem, but the owners did not want to close them down. Competition was another factor that affected Wilko’s operations. Stores such as B&M, Poundland, The Range, and Home Bargains often offered lower prices for the same products, leading customers to seek bargains. In August, Wilko’s owners declared bankruptcy.

Efforts were made to save Wilko, with Canadian billionaire Doug Putman, the owner of Canada’s largest toy store chain, Toys R Us, interested in acquiring up to 200 of the Wilko stores. However, the costs of acquisition were too high. The Pepco Group, which owns the Pepco and Dealz brands in Europe and Poundland in the UK, also stepped in. They reached an agreement with PwC, the administrator of the British chain, and are set to acquire 71 lease agreements, which are expected to be finalized in early autumn. Pepco plans to integrate these stores into Poundland’s network of over 800 stores. Another competitor, B&M, also made a proposal to acquire 51 Wilko stores.

Sources: [biznes.interia.pl]

Julia Rządzińska